Ernst Friedrich "Fritz" Schumacher was an internationally influential economic thinker, statistician and economist in Britain, serving as Chief Economic Advisor to the UK National Coal Board for two decades. He is best known for his critique of Western economies and his proposals for human-scale, decentralized and appropriate technologies.

According to The Times Literary Supplement, his 1973 book Small Is Beautiful: a study of economics as if people mattered is among the 100 most influential books published since World War II and was soon translated into many languages, bringing him international fame. Schumacher's basic development theories have been summed up in the catch-phrases Intermediate Size and Intermediate Technology. In 1977, he published A Guide For The Perplexed as a critique of materialist scientism and as an exploration of the nature and organization of knowledge. Together with long-time friends and associates like Professor Mansur Hoda, Schumacher founded the Intermediate Technology Development Group (now Practical Action) in 1966.

In 1955 Schumacher travelled to Burma as an economic consultant. While there, he developed the set of principles he called "Buddhist Economics," based on the belief that individuals needed good work for proper human development. He also proclaimed that "production from local resources for local needs is the most rational way of economic life." He traveled throughout many Third World countries, encouraging local governments to create self-reliant economies. Schumacher's experience led him to become a pioneer of what is now called appropriate technology: user-friendly and ecologically suitable technology applicable to the scale of the community; a concept very close to Ivan Illich's conviviality. He founded the Intermediate Technology Development Group (now Practical Action) in 1966. He was a trustee of Scott Bader Commonwealth and in 1970 the president of the Soil Association.

E F Schumacher was influenced by Mahatma Gandhi. While delivering the Gandhi Memorial Lecture at the Gandhian Institute of Studies at Varanasi (India) in 1973, he described Gandhi as the greatest ‘People’s Economist’ whose economic thinking was compatible with spirituality as opposed to materialism.

As Adam Smith is widely regarded as the most influential modern orthodox economist, in contrast, Schumacher is one of the most widely recognized heterodox economists.

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avatar Nazmul Chowdhury April 13, 2012 at 07:07

Nice to discover our founder as number one in the list. I feel proud of Him and honored as an Employee of his great organisation. His philosophy undoubtedly could solve many problems we are facing now all over the world. We need to discover his thoughts as much as possible to benefit people struggling for better life.

As Schumacher was influenced by Mahatma Gandhi, same as Mahatma Gandhi was greatly influenced by Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

Mahatma Gandhi, statement published in ‘Young India,’1924.
“I wanted to know the best of the life of one who holds today an undisputed sway over the hearts of millions of mankind…. I became more than ever convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet the scrupulous regard for pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission. These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every obstacle. When I closed the second volume (of the Prophet’s biography), I was sorry there was not more for me to read of that great life”.
There is no alternative,but to follow the people like them for our better life.

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avatar R.Roychoudhury April 28, 2012 at 02:13

Mr Mansur Hoda , with help and encouragement from Dr E.F.Schumacher and Shri Jay Prakash Narain founded the Appropriate Technology Development Institute (ATDA) in Lucknow, India. India is unfortunate that it could not benefit from Schumacher’s advice for rural development.

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